Overuse injuries are prevalent in the soccer athlete due to repetitive stress placed on the muscles and tendons with running, jumping, cutting and kicking. A commonly developed overuse injury is Achilles tendinitis, or pain and inflammation of the Achilles tendon where it inserts into the heel. An athlete with Achilles Tendinitis will usually complain of heel, or Achilles tendon, pain that is increased during or after soccer activities. The severity ranges in stages from minor with very little limitations to severe with a possible tear and difficulty walking. As you can see, early detection and prevention is key in an overuse injury such as this one! With the use of simple strategies such as the implementation of a PROPER stretching program, appropriate shoe wear, modification of the work out, and an exercise program this injury could be easily avoided.
On the other hand, if left untreated, the athlete's condition may worsen at which point consultation with a medical professional may be necessary. A sports medicine professional such as a Physical Therapist or Athletic Trainer can utilize modalities, massage, and exercises to get the soccer athlete back on the field. Being able to recognize an overuse injury and knowing how to prevent it from worsening or the best course of treatment, the soccer athlete can avoid bench time!